Stephen Duff in his Andersons Bay Rd Stephen Duff
Mitsubishi car yard. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The new car market in Dunedin has been ''very buoyant''
as aggressive manufacturers compete for business, car dealer
Stephen Duff says.
Mr Duff, of Stephen Duff Mitsubishi, said deals being offered
were becoming better and people were looking to upgrade their
''With the speed of technology, people want to upgrade.
Everything is five-star safety and five-star efficiency and
prices are not that much different. That has boosted sales.''
Used car sales were ''reasonably hard'' as they faced
competition from online auction sites, he said.
While numbers of vehicles changing hands were up, there were
more private-to-private sales going through the internet.
Motor Trade Association annual sales figures showed new
vehicle sales topped 100,000 last year for only the third
time in 23 years, despite sluggish economic conditions
There were 100,795 new car and commercial vehicle sales last
year - up 19%, or 16,155 units, on 2011. It was only the
third time since 1989 that new vehicle sales topped 100,000.
New passenger car sales reached their highest level in five
years, with 76,871 sold - up 12,852, or 20%, on 2011.
Asked if there was any particular reason that sales had been
strong in Dunedin, Mr Duff said the city was ''a little bit
off the beaten track'' when it came to sales.
Everyone had been affected by the global financial crisis but
Dunedin people were more conservative with managing their
debt, he believed.
Dunedin did not suffer the lows of the lows or the highs of
the highs, he said.
The rural sector had been receiving good prices for dairy and
sheep and the local economy remained based around the rural
''This year will be a slightly better year but it won't be
stellar,'' Mr Duff said.
Motor Trade Finances managing director Angus Bradshaw said
some of the numbers being talked about needed perspective. He
provided the Otago Daily Times with the Financial Services
Federation annual motor figures from 2012 which mainly showed
increases in the various categories, although the numbers
were still not as high as 2003, in one case.
The finance volume for motor vehicle purchases was very low.
Some vehicles were being put on to overdrafts and were not
being registered as being secured over a property or the
vehicle. MTF lending volumes were increasing slowly but it
was important to compare the most recent figures with the low
point rather than the immediate past period, he said. The low
for new-car registrations was 2005, when 54,000 were
registered. Last year, 77,000 were registered but that only
returned the figure to where it was in 2006.
The low for secured registrations was 2009, with 215,000
registrations. Last year's 232,000 was an improvement but
still below the high of 2005 with 365,000 registrations.
Asked about the interest-free periods being offered for motor
vehicles, and the dealers offering payments over three years,
Mr Bradshaw said someone had to get paid for the finance and
the payments came from the manufacturer, distributor or the
In the case of paying a third over each of three years, it
could mean the customer paying the full price of the car,
with no discount, and the dealer wearing the finance cost.
The emissions trading legislation for imported cars had cause
a slight setback, but Mr Bradshaw said that over the past two
or three years, there had always been something affecting the
''Everybody gets worried about it. It comes into play but we
adjust and get back to normal. When you look back, the end of
the world didn't happen,'' he said.
MTA figures showed Toyota again dominated both passenger and
commercial vehicle sales, with the introduction of a new
Corolla helping the Japanese maker sell 21,620 vehicles, for
a 21% market share.
Ford was next with 11,132 sales, (11%) and Holden with 9446
MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said last year was considerably
stronger than predicted.
The commercial market was also dominated by Toyota, with 6628
sales giving it a 28% market share, followed by Ford with
3749 sales (16%) and Nissan with 2703 sales (11%).
Toyota's Hilux ute was the top-selling commercial vehicle,
with 4182 sales, followed by the Ford Ranger (2815 sales) and
Nissan Navara (2586 sales).
Used import sales were down by 2541 on last year (3%) to
Used passenger car sales were well ahead of predictions, with
the market quickly adjusting to meet revised exhaust
emissions standards, Mr Stronach said.